Urban Studies
Spring 2008

Study Guide for The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America (2005) by Jonathan Kozol

Fifth Reading Assignment (pp.215-263)

Chapter 9, “Invitation to Resistance” (215-236)

Summary: In this chapter Kozol describes political response that would be necessary to alter the current situation in our city’s public schools. He argues that nothing short of a new protest movement on the scale and in the style of the Civil Rights movement would be necessary to achieve integration in our public schools. As Jack White in his Time magazine article argued, “Before we gave up on integration, we should have tried it.”  Even though the current political climate makes such a large-scale national movement seem unlikely, Kozol describes the strategy he would use to ignite it.

Who might lead such a movement? (217)

To whom would movement members reach out initially for support? (223)

Gary Orfield of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, argues that the movement for reform of urban schools be linked to challenges to residential segregation. How does he advise advocates of Fair Housing to proceed? (224)

According to Orfield, how is the school choice movement contributing to the problem of segregation in city schools?

What are the specific benefits of integrated education that movement advocates would have to tout? (229-30)

Describe the successes of integration movements in the following local school systems:
- Milwaukee (226)

- St. Louis (227)

- Louisville (227)

- Prince Edward County, VA (228)

- Boston (230)

How should movement leaders target their initial efforts to breakdown barriers to inter-district integration and residential integration?

Chapter 10, “A National Horror In Plain View: Why Not a National Response” (237-263)


Summary: Kozol argues that the current strategy of attacking the dual problems of school desegregation and funding inequity on the local level is ultimately doomed to failure even if some states and cities have achieved limited success. He applauds the litigation to achieve equitable funding which have been used by legal activists, but he argues that the problem is national in nature, and the only institution capable of effective action is the federal government. He describes efforts by members of the Black Congressional Caucus to get the House and Senate to vote on measures that will mandate funding adequate to the task of raising academic standards in city schools. Kozol praises Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. for pursuing his dream of passing a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to public education of an equally high quality to every American child. Kozol concludes, though, that the chances of passing such legislation in the current political climate are thin to none unless a new era of political action on the scale of Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s begins again.

Roger Wilkins, a distinguished journalist and educator who is a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, describes the psychological barriers to igniting a new movement. What does he mean when he describes the problem as “hidden in plain view”?

Describe the significance of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Rodriguez v. San Antonio Schools (1974) (pp. 243-45)

Outline the reasoning behind Judge Powell’s opinion for the majority:

How did Judge Marshall rebut these assertions in his dissent?

What does Kozol think of the current legal strategy of designed to achieve “sufficient” or “adequate” funding being led by lawyers like Michael Rebell of the New York based Campain for Fiscal Equity?

Briefly describe the legislation to mandate fiscal equity in our public schools proposed by Rep. Chaka Fattah  and Sen. Christopher Dodd.

How would Rep. Jackson’s constitutional amendment reverse not only Rodriguez v. San Antonio but also Milliken v. Bradley, the 1974 Supreme Court amendment which ended busing across district lines to achieve desegregation.

Why does Theodore Shaw of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund beleve that “Co Child Left Behind” has given impetus to the movement to make equal education a national entitlement?

What central tenet of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision needs to be reemphasized in the movement to achieve integration?

Why would a direct action protest movement be necessary to achieving any of these goals?